Why Phil Mendelson can breathe a sigh of relief
Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large) may have been the single most relieved person to show up at Vince Gray's victory party in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. Not only did the guy he endorsed win the city's highest office, but Mendelson managed to win a re-election contest -- he took in 63 percent of the votes -- that was made surprisingly tight because of confusion over his competitor's name.
"I'm very pleased that the voters took the time to figure out the two Michael Browns," Mendelson told us in the midst of Gray's celebration, referring to challenger Michael D. Brown, who many voters had mistaken for popular Council member Michael A. Brown during the campaign. "That was the challenge -- to educate the voters about the race, and it seems to have worked."
Yeah, but just barely. When an August Washington Post poll found Brown leading both Mendelson and challenger Clark Ray, the three-term incumbent went into crisis mode, spending $180,000 of his more than $200,000 campaign bankroll on campaign fliers pointing out the confusion over which Brown was actually running. He also got pretty much all of his colleagues on the council to very visibly endorse him, with Michael A. Brown going as far as to bemoan what he called "political identity theft."
Could Mendelson, a notoriously under-the-radar campaigner, have tried a little harder earlier on to shore up his bases?
Continue reading this piece by Martin Austermuhle at DCist.com here.
| September 15, 2010; 1:16 PM ET
Categories: D.C., D.C. politics, HotTopic, Local blog network
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